Fall 2012 Features

Following are features from our Fall 2012 issue of Health Notes.

Fall trivia







How much do you know about fall foliage? For instance, did you know that:

  • Certain trees like birches, tulip poplars, redbuds, and hickories always turn yellow in the fall, never red.
  • The bright colors on leaves are the result of chemical changes as the trees go dormant.
  • The brightest, most varied and long lasting color display is found in the southern Appalachians.
  • When the air temperature drops, the chlorophyll inside leaves starts to break down. This reveals other pigments that naturally exist within trees. That process causes the lovely colors in fall trees.

Tips for reducing your risk of osteoporosis






Women—especially post menopausal women—are at a higher risk of getting osteoporosis. Asian and white women are at the highest risk. What exactly is osteoporosis? To understand the condition, you must first understand how your bones work. Bone is a tissue that is alive. It’s constantly being replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when your body’s development of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of the old bone. Having osteoporosis puts you t risk of fractures. Hips, wrists, and backs are the areas most often affected. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of osteoporosis:

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases bone loss. Experts think this is because it reduces the protective effect estrogen has on bone.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol to excess. More than one alcoholic drink per day can reduce your bone formation. It can also hurt your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Become active. Weight-bearing exercise is good for your bones so engage in exercises like walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting.
  • Avoid long-term use of corticosteroid medications like prednisone and cortisone. These can interfere with your bone rebuilding process.
  • Take at least 1000 mg. of calcium (food sources are best) and at least 800 mg. of Vitamin D daily.
  • Avoid falls. Wear low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles to reduce your chance of falling. In addition, you can safeguard your house against potential falls by:

• Securing electrical cords and area rugs and masking slippery surfaces; all of these could trip you up.
• Keeping rooms brightly lit.
• Being careful in the shower. Make sure there are grab bars inside and outside your shower.

Why the Hepatitis B vaccine is important for people with type 2 diabetes








Since 1992, the Hepatitis B vaccine has been required for all children as a routine vaccination. However, most adults—unless they work in a hospital setting—have not had the vaccine. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued their recommendation that people with Type 2 diabetes should receive the vaccine because they are more susceptible to contracting Hepatitis B. According to the CDC, people ages 23 through 59 with diabetes have twice the odds of developing Hepatitis B as people without diabetes. We have a new research study in which people ages 20 and up who have Type 2 diabetes can receive the Hepatitis B vaccine at no charge. The study requires five office visits spread out over seven months. Compensation is available at study end.

Does fall have you saying AACHOO? Drink coffee!








Hay fever annually affects around 20% of Americans, particularly in the fall. When the days start to get cooler, that morning coffee may not only warm you up, but treat your hay fever as well. Recent studies show that increasing coffee consumption can alleviate your hay fever symptoms. This is because coffee is a natural antihistamine. It keeps your cells from over-producing histamine which causes hay fever symptoms. The National Headache Foundation also said that coffee increases the effectiveness of pain relievers by 40% when treating a headache. Source: Livestrong.com

Traveling this fall? Watch your ears!









If you’re traveling by airplane this fall, your ears may suffer. According to The Mayo Clinic, airplane ear is relatively common. This condition describes the stress that’s put on your eardrum when there’s an
imbalance between the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure in the environment. Symptoms of airplane ear can include:

  • Moderate pain or discomfort in your ear.
  • Feeling like your ear is stuffed up.
  • Slight to moderate hearing loss.

There are simple things you can do to prevent airplane ear when traveling:

  • During take-offs and landings: Don’t sleep. Swallow and yawn frequently. Pinch your nostrils and blow through your nose with your mouth closed. Repeat several times.
  • If you have a cold or sinus: think about rescheduling. It’s not advisable to fly when you have a cold, sinus infection, ear infection or nasal congestion.
  • Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of water.
  • Use over-the-counter products. You might want to take an oral decongestant 30 minutes to an hour before take-off. Decongestant nasal sprays will also keep your sinus passages open. If you are prone to allergies, then you should take your allergy medication about an hour before the flight.